How to Make a Smoothie

Smoothies — any flavor — are such a great and easy breakfast or snack. Here are all the best tips and tricks on how to make smoothies, all in one place. Follow these simple steps and you'll never have a lousy smoothie again!

Beauty shot of strawberry smoothie jar.
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Whether you're making an easy and healthy breakfast or a mid-day pick-me-up, knowing how to make the perfect smoothie every time is a good skill to have!

Sometimes, you may not have all of the ingredients on hand for your favorite smoothie recipe. If you know what you can substitute and how to adapt a recipe, you can still make a perfect smoothie!

Some favorite recipes are my mixed berry smoothie and strawberry banana smoothie. They're classic recipes that everyone will love.

But sometimes I'm in the mood for something a little different like a green apple smoothie. I also love to just throw leftover fruit in a blender with other ingredients when I just don't know what to make!

Any basic smoothie recipe will have a variation of the same type of simple ingredients, and when you know the formula for what constitutes a great smoothie, you can start making your own creations!

ingredients for green apple smoothies on a marble countertop

Best Smoothie Formula

In general, you need 4-5 different ingredients to make a good smoothie. Here are some great options:

  1. fruit: You can use fresh fruit or frozen fruit to make smoothies. Berries and bananas are the most popular type of fruit, but you can use so many different fruits to make healthy smoothies!
  2. thickener: The easiest way to thicken smoothies is by using some yogurt or banana. A handful of ice or some frozen fruit will do the trick as well.
  3. liquids: You can use dairy milk or dairy-free milk. There are even some smoothies that call for orange juice or apple juice. If you want something simpler, there's always water and coconut water.
  4. sweetener: Honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, sugar, and simple syrup are all fabulous sweeteners to use in a delicious smoothie!
  5. additions: There are so many great things you can add into smoothies! Make a smoothie extra filling by adding protein powder or peanut butter. Or, add extra nutrients with chia seeds and flax seeds. You can also add greens or fresh oats.
Overhead shot of two strawberry smoothie jars on top of wooden serving board.

Best Fruits for Smoothies

You can use both fresh fruit and frozen fruit in smoothies! When using frozen fruit, you'll typically end up with thick smoothies. You may need to add more liquid so that the smoothie ends up being the right consistency to drink.

Peaches are a fruit that gets added to many of our smoothies. They're best when frozen. Here's how I freeze them!

If you use fresh fruit, keep in mind that you'll need to add some ice or frozen banana if you'd it thicker! But I love using fresh fruit in the summer when berries and citrus are in season. It makes this refreshing treat extra tasty.

Some of the best fruits to use in smoothies are:

  • strawberries
  • bananas
  • blueberries
  • apples
  • blackberries
  • peaches
  • mango
  • raspberries
  • pineapple
Almond milk pouring into blender on top of frozen strawberries and banana slices.

Best Liquids for Smoothies

You don't have to use water in your smoothies unless you just want to! There are so many wonderful options to add to your smoothie to make it smooth, creamy, and full of flavor.

  • milk (whole, 2%, skim)
  • almond milk
  • coconut milk
  • oat milk
  • cashew milk
  • soy milk
  • coconut Water
  • orange juice
  • apple juice
  • kefir

There are even recipes that use green tea as the main liquid. The possibilities are endless!

avocado, cocoa powder, milk and yogurt in a blender.

Smoothie Add-in Ideas

So now that you've got the basic idea of a simple formula to create smoothies, you can decide what extras to add-in to your delicious drink.

You can pack your smoothie with protein, extra vitamins and minerals, a touch of sweetness, and so much more.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • veggies and greens: Spinach and kale are two of the most popular leafy greens to add to green smoothies. You could also add things like avocado, broccoli, sweet potatoes and carrots.
  • sweeteners: Honey, maple syrup, date syrup, agave, sugar, and simple syrup are just a few of a long list of potential ways to sweeten a basic smoothie recipe.
  • protein: When making a breakfast smoothie, adding extra protein to keep you full for a longer stretch of time can be beneficial. A scoop or two of your favorite protein powder or collagen is a great addition. Nut butter works well too.
  • seeds: Chia seeds, flax seeds and hemp seeds are all popular add-ins that have various nutritional benefits.
  • yogurt: Plain Greek yogurt, or any flavored yogurt, can help give a smoothie a creamy texture and adds extra protein and flavor.
  • grains: Though it may sound odd, you can oats, millet, cooked rice, and cooked quinoa to smoothies for extra fiber.
  • nut butters: This is a great way to add protein as well! Peanut butter, almond butter, sun butter and cashew butter are fabulous options.
  • powders: Matcha and spirulina powder taste great in smoothies! You can also use things like acai, cocoa powder, maca and goji berry powder. Or, use powdered nut butters like peanut butter powder or almond butter powder.
  • spices: I love adding cinnamon, nutmeg, apple pie spice, or pumpkin pie spice in the fall and winter months. (Yes...I still drink smoothies when it's cold. They're just too yummy to stop!)
  • extracts: This add-in is often forgotten, but I'm not sure why. It's such a simple way to pack in more flavor. Extracts like vanilla, lemon, almond and even peppermint can take the flavor profile of a smoothie to the next level.
Mixed berries, spinach, yogurt, and almond milk unblended in the blender.

How to Make a Smoothie

To make sure you are maxing out your blender's capabilities to yield a smoothie with the right consistency, always load up your blender pitcher in the following order:

  1. liquids first: Measure out whatever liquid you chosen, and pour it into the blender first, before any other smoothie ingredients.
  2. then soft fruits or vegetables: If you're using fresh fruit or veggies, add it directly on top of whatever liquid you've chosen.
  3. then greens: This would be the step to add fresh spinach or kale!
  4. then frozen fruits and ice: Only add ice cubes if you're using a majority of fresh fruit, otherwise the frozen fruit should be perfectly fine to thicken the smoothie!
  5. any powders on top: Add any powders, nut butters, seeds, or extra add-ins on the top of all other ingredients. If you're using yogurt, add it during this step as well.
Blended strawberry smoothie in blender.

Blend well until all ingredients are thoroughly combined and the smoothie has a creamy texture. Test the consistency, and if it is too thick or thin, add whatever is needed and blend again.

Pour into glasses and serve immediately, or store for later!

Hot Tip: Make sure you are always starting with a clean blender! You don't want lingering flavors of an old smoothie, and you'll want your blender functioning at full capacity. I've got a post on how to clean a blender so that you can find the best method that works for you!

Smoothie pouring into glass jar.

How to Make A Smoothie Thicker or Thinner

Sometimes, smoothie recipes are trial and error. If you end up with a really runny smoothie or one that's so thick you can't drink it, there are ways to save it!

This post shares the best tips and tricks on how to make a smoothie thicker or thinner, but here's some quick bullet points:

If Your Smoothie Is Too Thick

The easiest way to thin a very thick smoothie is to add liquid (whatever liquid was in the original recipe is best!).

  • water
  • milk (dairy or nut milk)
  • juice (e.g. orange juice)

Add it in ¼-cup increments and blend until it reaches the desired consistency.

peach smoothies on a wood board

If Your Smoothie is Too Thin

There are a lot of great ways to make a smoothie thicker. Here are some of my favorites:

  • banana: Fresh bananas will add some creamy texture to your smoothies, but frozen banana will help thicken it even more. Take a look at this post on how to freeze bananas so that you'll always have frozen bananas on hand to save thin smoothies!
  • yogurt: Using plain Greek yogurt or non-dairy yogurt are my two favorite ways to quickly thicken a smoothie, give it extra flavor, and make it super creamy.
  • ice: This is a good thickener in a pinch, but not the best way. If you're going to drink your smoothie right away, adding ice is no problem. But keep in mind that ice will melt over time, which will water it down.
  • frozen fruit: Using frozen fruit is the easiest way to ensure a thick and creamy texture. My island green smoothie perfectly exemplifies why frozen fruit always works!
frozen smoothie in an ice tray

How to Store Smoothies

There are so many ways to store leftovers from a smoothie recipe. Depending on when you want to drink your leftovers, there are a few great options on how to store it.

I have a whole post about how to store leftover smoothie, but here's a quick summary:

  • Freezer: You can pour your smoothie into ice cube trays or popsicle molds and freeze it. Then let it thaw, or add it to a blender with liquid and drink up! Alternatively, you can do the same by freezing the liquid in freezer bags and laying them flat in the freezer.
  • Fridge: Store the leftover beverage in mason jars, or another airtight container, and give it a good shake when you're ready to drink it.
  • Freeze ingredients: If you're a fan of a fresh smoothie, you can still make things easier on yourself by freezing the ingredients for your smoothies. Measure the ingredients, place them in zip-top bags or ice cube trays, and they're ready to pop in the blender as needed!
pink smoothie in a mason jar

Smoothie Bowls

You can make any smoothie into a smoothie bowl. However, it works better with slightly thicker smoothies (see above for my top tips on thickening these breakfast beverages).

Then top the bowl with your favorite toppings:

  • granola
  • muesli
  • chia seeds
  • cut fruit
  • berries
  • yogurt

And eat it with a spoon!

granola on top of a green smoothie with a copper straw

FAQ

Can you make a smoothie in a food processor?

Technically, yes you can make a smoothie in a food processor. However, depending on the ingredient you have chosen, your smoothie may not turn out smooth and you could have small pieces of fruit or ice left in the mixture. If you want good results every time, purchase a high-powered blender.

Do smoothies need milk or water?

Smoothie require some sort of liquid for best results. However, you don't have to use milk or water. You can use liquid ingredients like fruit juice, kefir, coconut water, and others to ensure there is enough liquid for smoothie success!

What should you put in a smoothie?

Smoothies generally contain fresh or frozen fruit, a liquid such as milk or juice, a thickener such as banana or yogurt, plus a sweetener. Other additions like greens, protein powder, oats, chia seeds, grains, nut butters, extracts and powders can also be added.

Two pineapple banana smoothies with straws.

Best Smoothie Recipes

Once you know how to make a smoothie the basic way, you can branch out into all kinds of flavor combinations. Here are some of our favorites:

Did you make this recipe?

If you make and love this recipe, please leave a ★★★★★ review below! It means so much to me when you try my recipes, and I'd love to know how it goes. Please leave a comment below if you have any questions.

Beauty shot of strawberry smoothie jar.

Basic Smoothie Recipe

Choose your own ingredients and follow this simple formula to make a perfet smoothie! Great for an on-the-go breakfast or a mid-day snack.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 24 ounces
Author: Madison Wetherill

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen berries or fruit
  • ½ cup 5.3 oz plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 ½ cups water milk, juice or other chosen liquid
  • 2 tablespoons flax seed or chia seed
  • 1 tablespoon honey or chosen sweetener
  • ½ cup kale or spinach

Instructions

  • Pour liquids in the blender. Then add frozen fruit, sweetener, greek yogurt, leafy greens, and flax seed.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Pour into two cups and serve or store for later!

Notes

If smoothie is too thick, add more almond milk ¼ cup at a time. If too thin, you can add additional peaches or yogurt.
Here are some ideas for ingredients to include in your smoothies:
  • Veggies and greens: kale, spinach, avocado or broccoli
  • Sweeteners: maple syrup, honey, agave, date syrup, simple syrup, sugar, sugar substitutes
  • Protein: powder, collagen
  • Seeds: chia, flax, hemp hearts
  • Grains: oats, cooked quinoa, millet, cooked rice
  • Nut butters: peanut, almond, cashew, nutella
  • Extracts: vanilla, lemon, almond, maple extract
  • Spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, apple pie spice
  • Powders: spirulina, acai, maca, goji berry, matcha, cocoa

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 395kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 78mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 42g

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